Media Oxpecker: What’s the State of News Media in 2013? Depends On Who You Ask.

Every week we round up media news you may have missed while you were busy expanding your reach.

  • The Pew State of the News Media report informed us this week that newsroom staffing is down 30 percent since its peak in 2000 and there are less than 40,000 full-time news professionals in the U.S. for the first time since 1978:

    This adds up to a news industry that is more undermanned and unprepared to uncover stories, dig deep into emerging ones or to question information put into its hands. And findings from our new public opinion survey released in this report reveal that the public is taking notice. Nearly one-third of the respondents (31%) have deserted a news outlet because it no longer provides the news and information they had grown accustomed to.

    But wait. Slate’s Matthew Yglesias says, “American news media has never been in better shape.” This isn’t just another Slate pitch. What Yglesias means is that from the perspective of news consumers, these are the “glory days” of journalism, even if these days are less-than-glorious for news producers:

    Any individual journalist working today can produce much more than our predecessors could in 1978. And the audience can essentially read all of our output. Not just today’s output either. Yesterday’s and last week’s and last month’s and last year’s and so forth. To the extent that the industry is suffering, it’s suffering from a crisis of productivity. For people trying to make a living in journalism, the problems are real enough. But from a social viewpoint, these are excellent problems to have.

    Over at Forbes, Lewis DVorkin says it’s time for journalists to stop pointing fingers and start exploring new payment models:

    Consumer demand for credible news and information is greater than ever. The problem is the 100-year-old model for producing it is forever broken. That’s why more attention must be paid to finding new ways to produce quality journalism — efficiently, at scale and at a price supported by mobile CPMs, which at best are 50% lower than desktop CPMs, which if you’re lucky come in two-thirds lower than print CPMs. In other words, a high-cost newsroom structure built for the print age will never work in a smartphone or tablet world.

  • The Warren Buffett equation for newspaper survivability: Paper with less than 30,000 circulation + located in a town of less than 75,000 + weekday circulation that covers at least 25 percent of the population + ratio of online readers to print subscribers of less than 5.

  • Ad Age’s Simon Dumenco says the brutal truth about big data is that there’s way too much of it and “nobody knows quite what to do with it.”

  • Can newspapers evolve into ‘local membership’ organizations?

  • This week in paywall converts: The Washington Post will begin charging users who view more than 20 articles a month.

  • New Yorker writer David Grann on Twitter:

    There was a part of me that always wanted to be an editor. Twitter is a way to curate things I really like, or that are interesting or curious. Sometimes it’s ephemera. I always would get up and read every morning, all my adult life, five to ten publications. This is part of being a news junkie and having a professional need to know what’s going on in the world. Frequently I find things I wouldn’t necessarily write about.

  • Are advertisers wasting their money on web banner ads that consumers don’t even notice? 60 percent of respondents to an Infolinks survey couldn’t remember the last web display ad they saw.

  • Can mobile monetize? Venture capitalist David Yuan shares three key areas he’s watching.

  • Small businesses are spending just 3 percent of their ad dollars online.

  • Promotions will dominate local ad spending in 2013, says a new Borrell Associates study.

  • Does March Madness stymie workplace productivity? New England Cable News stopped by the offices of Seven Days in Burlington, Vt. to find out.

  • 29th Street Publishing — which publishes e-editions for The Awl and the recently-launched Maura Magazine — “is quietly trying to revolutionize magazine publishing”:

    The Midtown-based company promises to take the technical wizardry out of app making, easing the pathway to subscription revenue for those with eager—if nonpaying—online audiences. With clients drawn largely from New York City’s deep ranks of freelance writers and independent editors, 29th Street helps develop and maintain simple apps for serialized content. The publishing staff also provides gentle nudges to get new editions out on time.

  • U.S. consumers watched 3.8 billion minutes of streaming video ads in February.

  • And finally, don’t call it a “charm offensive,” at least not in the Washington Post outlook section, which sent Romenesko a list of “things we do not say in Outlook.” On the list are such iconic words and phrases as “iconic,” “paradigm shift,” “hot-button issue,” and “[Anything] 2.0 (or 3.0, or 4.0…)”